Pennington: ‘I’ve loved every minute of this’

New Hartsville Mayor Casey Hancock, left, and outgoing Mayor Mel Pennington after Hancock’s swearing-in. Pennington is inviting Hancock to take the mayor’s chair. PHOTO BY BOBBY BRYANT

By Bobby Bryant, Editor

When Mel Pennington ended his 12-year tenure as Hartsville mayor last week, City Council gave him several gifts. One was his gavel, displayed in a frame. Another was a special framed map of Hartsville. On the back, it says, in part: “You taught us all to dream big for a small town.” At his final council meeting Dec. 14, Pennington drew a distinction between a “dream” and the “vision” it takes to make the dream happen. “The truth is, the best vision in the world, without a team to implement it, is just a dream,” Pennington said. He said Hartsville’s upward surge “started before I arrived … and it won’t end here. There’s a new person that’s coming, full of energy and vision.” Pennington reflected on the past decade or more. “It’s tough, over 12 years,” to be focused on a city’s needs, he said. But he added: “I’ve told everybody in the last couple of weeks, I’ve loved every minute of this.” Council members took turns lauding Pennington for his work as mayor. He chose not to run for re-election, and five rival candidates fought for his seat. Councilman Bobby McGee called Pennington a wonderful ambassador for Hartsville. Councilman Bryson Caldwell said he learned from Pennington. Councilman Bob Braddock said, “You and I are friends. … That’s what I cherish the most, our friendship.” “You woke up every day and had Hartsville’s best interests at heart,” Braddock said. Councilman Johnny Andrews complimented Pennington on the “big things” – such as his vision for the city – and the “little things,” such as getting a stop light put up where it was needed. “Mel’s vision, Mel’s passion, has pushed us and pulled us through 12 years. I hope we can continue that momentum.”

Author: Stephan Drew

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